Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Reader Asks... Your Personal Mission and Vision

A LYS Teacher asks:


I have recently started working on a Masters in Education Leadership. One of my assignments was to develop and write my “Vision of Leadership” statement. Which got me wondering, what is yours? And/or do you have an opinion on having a personal “Vision of Leadership?”

SC Response
First, I think that every leader (especially those in public service) needs to know who they are, what they are about and why they do what they do.  This understanding keeps you from going astray. Can this be encompassed in a “Vision Statement?” Maybe for some, for some maybe not.  

I don’t operate under a concrete vision statement, posted on a wall in my office, but there are some overriding themes that drive me, my work, and my teams.  And these overriding themes have done so for going on 25 years now.

1. If not us, then who?  My entire career has been spent working with the underdogs.  At-risk students, at-risk schools, and at-risk districts.  In this pursuit, it is understood that there is no “safety net.”  Instead, WE are the safety net.  Which means that if we don’t step up and do the right thing, put in the extra effort, care about the results, etc., no one else will.  

2. Today’s best is tomorrow’s base line. Meaning that we are always pushing to get better, reflecting on our practice, challenging the status quo and looking for the next mountain.

3. Do what’s right for students and don’t worry about the fall out.  In the vast majority of schools the big people worry a lot about the other big people.  We don’t.  The big people are in schools to maximize student opportunity.  If they are not willing to do so, get new big people (yes, our job is that important and that urgent).  If you get fired for doing right by students (it happens), trust me, the next job will come. Easier and sooner than you expect.

4. The answer is out there. We just have to find it.  There is an answer to how to get schools to operate at maximum effectiveness.  It’s just beyond our grasp… today.  But it we stay focused and keep grinding, we’ll figure it out. And then we’ll share that answer with the profession.  Because if not us, then who?

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
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